The President of the United States is not just America’s leader, he is the leader of the free world.  This means that not only do Americans depend on him to provide effective leadership, so do millions of other freedom loving people across the globe.  Consequently, it is critical that the president be an effective leader.  So, how does America’s current president, Barack Obama, stack up as a leader?  Unfortunately for millions of people who are currently free and for millions of others who want to be, the answer to this question is: very poorly. 

American taxpayers may not have access to his grades at Harvard, but Barack Obama cannot hide, seal, or disguise his grade in leadership.  That grade is on display for the world to see every day, and there is no question what the grade is.  When it comes to leadership, President Obama makes an F.   Lest the reader think this assertion is just a politically biased opinion rather than a demonstrable fact, the methodology for arriving at Obama’s failing grade is explained herein.  It is the same methodology the author has used for 36 years in measuring the effectiveness of executive leaders in all kinds of organizations.

The author’s leadership grading methodology consists of comparing a leader’s actions—not his words but his actions—against the characteristics of individuals who are widely acknowledged to be effective leaders, three of which are credibility, clarity, and competence. By consistently exemplifying these types of characteristics, leaders are able to inspire others to commit to doing their part in a worthy cause.  In the case of Americans, that cause should be keeping America strong and free while ensuring that it remains the bastion of liberty, opportunity, and hope envisioned by the Founders.

Credibility is what leaders have when others trust them and believe they will put the cause in question ahead of their personal agenda. Barack Obama is one of the least trusted Presidents in America’s history.  Further, he is a partisan ideologue who has consistently put his leftwing agenda ahead of what is good for America. Hence, he fails the credibility test.  Clarity means articulating a clear vision of a desirable future.  President Obama’s vision of America’s future is neither clear nor desirable. It is a vision of statism in which productive members of society are compelled by government coercion to support others who are willfully unproductive. Hence, he fails the clarity test.  An American president who is competent is one who has the talent and drive to do what is necessary to keep America strong and free.  Not only does Barack Obama fail the competence test, he has not even tried to pass it.  Ensuring that America remains the bastion of liberty, opportunity, and hope the Founders envisioned is not even on his agenda.  As a leader, President Obama has failed.


Dr. Goetsch served as a professor of management and leadership for 36 years and was also a college vice-president for 20 of those years.  He is a widely-known management trainer and consultant with more than 100 private and public sector clients firms.  He is the author of more than 70 books on business, management, and leadership including “Effective Leadership,” “Developmental Leadership,” and “Quality Management.”  The latter book is an international best seller that has been translated into several foreign languages inlcuding Korean, Indonesian, and Malaysian.  His book “Effective Leadership” is currently being translated into Hindi, the principle language of India.   He is currently Chairman of the Board of the Okalooa Economic Development Council in Fort Walton Beach, Florida–an organization of business leaders dedicated to job creation and retention.